- While the US Treasury’s semi-annual report on the foreign-exchange policies of major U.S. trading partners has traditionally been, pardon the pun, a paper tiger, as the US has not named a single country as a currency manipulator since it did so to China in 1994, and it didn’t go so far as to blame any country as an outright manipulator in the just released April edition, there was a new addition to the latest report.
- In an inaugural “monitoring list”, the US put five economies including China, Japan and Germany (as well as South Korea and Taiwan) on a new currency watch list, saying that their foreign-exchange practices bear close monitoring to gauge if they provide an unfair trade advantage over America.
- This is what it said:
In determining the appropriate factors to assess these criteria, Treasury took a thorough approach, analyzing data spanning 15 years across dozens of economies, including all economies that have had a trade surplus with the United States during that period, and which in the aggregate represent about 80 percent of global GDP. The thresholds are relatively robust in that reasonable changes to the thresholds do not materially change the Report’s conclusions. Treasury will also continue to review the factors it uses to assess these criteria to ensure that the new reporting and monitoring tools provided under the Act meet the objective of indicating where unfair currency practices may be emerging.
Pursuant to the Act, Treasury finds that no economy currently satisfies all three criteria, however, five major trading partners of the United States met two of the three criteria for enhanced analysis. Treasury is creating a new “Monitoring List” that includes these economies: China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Germany. China, Japan, Germany, and Korea are identified as a result of a material current account surplus combined with a significant bilateral trade surplus with the United States. Taiwan is identified as a result of its material current account surplus and its persistent, one-sided intervention in foreign exchange markets. Treasury will closely monitor and assess the economic trends and foreign exchange policies of these economies.
As noted above, Treasury is creating a new “Monitoring List” that cites major trading partners that have met two of the three criteria specified in the Act. In this first Report, the Monitoring List includes China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Germany.
- This is about as direct a threat to the 3+2 nations not to engage in major currency devaluation whether through QE, NIRP or major interest rate changes as Jack Lew could come up with, and in some ways was to be expected in the aftermath of the G-20 meeting which as we found out this week, precluded any additional QE by the BOJ.